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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 May 2007

How we can fight to build a new workers' party

"ABANDONED BY New Labour, working people need a political voice," said Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of the PCS union. He is not alone in thinking this. The recent council elections have exposed once again the current vacuum that exists on the left in British politics.

Greg Maughan

Imagine the role that a new mass party standing up for working people could play in uniting the struggles we are engaged in, giving workers confidence to fight back and offering a national platform to counter the lies and propaganda of the bosses.

In the fourteen months since its launch, the Campaign for a New Workers' Party has made important steps forward. The campaign now has more than 2,500 signatories to its 'declaration for a new workers' party'. Where the ideas of the campaign are boldly raised among trade unionists and campaigners, they get an excellent response. But so far, the campaign has only just scratched the surface of its potential, and that potential is likely to grow in the coming year.

Over the coming months, the CNWP will be organising fringe meetings at as many of the trade union conferences as possible to put forward the case for a new party. At the recent Unison union health conference 20 people signed the 'declaration for a new workers' party' and at just one PCS strike rally in Birmingham 22 people signed it. Supporters of the campaign aim to have 5,000 signatories by the end of 2007.

There will be a session at the CNWP conference this Saturday 12 May to discuss the specifics of campaigning for a new party and to lay out the tasks of the campaign for the next few months. Among the aims being put forward are:

Set the agenda

At this stage, the key task of the campaign is to popularise the idea of independent political representation for workers, to get the idea of a new mass workers' party on the agenda. Therefore, in the trade union movement, in anti-cuts campaigns, in particular in fights against NHS cuts, the CNWP should be raised by all genuine campaigners, linking the particular struggle engaged in with wider issues and drawing out the need for a new party.

As actor and Shrewsbury Two campaigner Ricky Tomlinson put it: "Tony Blair has disembowelled the Labour Party. It's not New Labour, it's the New Phoney Labour Party and a growing number of people are fed up with it. We've now got to stop the rot." The only way to stop the rot is to fight for a new mass party that stands in the interests of the millions not the millionaires.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 10 May 2007:

Conference for a working class alternative

Blair's departure: Curtain falls on disastrous reign

Workers need a political voice

Socialist Party election analysis

Time for a new workers' party

Campaign for a New Workers Party

Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference

How we can fight to build a new workers' party

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Save Maudsley emergency clinic now!

Socialist Party news and analysis

Escaping Maggie Thatcher's glare

Salford: Tenants oppose stock transfer

International socialist news and analysis

France: preparing for a "third round" on the streets

Turkey: "No to coups, no to sharia"

Musharraf hangs on in Pakistan while poverty and oppression multiplies

Socialist Party election campaign

Strong support for the Socialist Party in Coventry

Huddersfield: Support for NHS campaign cuts across Labour lies

Wales: Labour's worst result

Scottish Elections: Labour rocked as SNP wins

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS: Unity against low pay

One big rail union?


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